You know you are in the heart of winter when your mind turns to pulling together a nice, hearty meat pie, so for all you pie lovers out there here is a treat for you – a new pie recipe that comes all the way from Chile. That’s thanks to Chilean Raul Diaz who continues his monthly food and wine pairings with his take on a classic Chilean dish – the Pastel de Choclo. Otherwise known as corn pie. A pie that Diaz believes is the perfect accompaniment to a quality Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here’s an idea for a classic winter pie – but with a twist. It comes from Chile. Which is also where Raul Diaz comes from hence his love for this traditional Chilean recipe.
It’s getting colder and Christmas is around the corner. This is the time of the year that you are naturally craving some delicious red wines with ripe fruits, rich texture, great structure, and a long finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines are an excellent choice to match with a warm and comforting recipe. That’s why I just couldn’t resist including one of my absolute favourite recipes, Pastel de Choclo, even if it requires a bit more preparation time.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of a spontaneous genetic crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. There are now more hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in the world than any other grape. It thrives in a variety of soils, most famously on the well-drained gravel mounds of Bordeaux.
It requires a significant amount of heat to reach ripeness – something that it struggles to achieve consistently in Bordeaux. Although it shows itself differently depending upon location, one can always count on a wine that is identifiable as Cabernet Sauvignon. Blackcurrant is the dominant fruit, along with other black fruits, and the wines also display beautiful notes of mint and black pepper that complement a rich structure based on loads of acidity, body, tannin, and alcohol.
This is a grape that has great affinity with oak and tremendous ageing potential. With age, Cabernet Sauvignon wines develop aromas of cedar
and cigar box.
Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent blending partner. As a blended wine, it plays an important role in Bordeaux, where it is paired with Merlot. It is found in other places as part of the ‘Bordeaux blend’ or blended with local grapes such as Syrah, Garnacha, and Sangiovese. Although it is very uncommon to find Cabernet Sauvignon unblended in Bordeaux, it is produced as a varietal in many wine regions, including California and Tuscany.
Blackcurrant, plum, black cherry, blackberry, mint, toast, black pepper
Five to 20+ years. Wines from top appellations can last for decades.
Bordeaux, Maipo Valley, Margaret River, Napa Valley, Tuscany
Margaux, Pauillac, Pessac Léognan, Saint Estephe, Saint-Julien
Pastel de Choclo – (Corn pie)
I remember going with my mother to the local market to buy fresh corn cobs during the summer in Chile. They were huge. Pastel de Choclo is an iconic dish back home. This corn pie is an incredible combination of corn paste, beef, chicken, olives, onions, raisins, and hard-boiled eggs, with a slightly caramelised crust on the top. It’s simply fantastic.
You normally eat it with a fresh tomato salad on the side. Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines are the best choice to match this recipe owing to the intensity of their flavour, body, and structure.
1. Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until toasted and turning golden. Add the milk and basil and season with salt and pepper, then simmer for another 10 minutes until the corn is tender. With a hand blender, blitz the corn mixture until smooth. Check the seasoning and set aside.
2. Heat the oil for the filling in a large, wide pan over a medium– high heat. Cook the beef mince for about 6–7 minutes, stirring regularly, until well coloured. Add the onions, chilli flakes and cumin, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes until the onions have softened. Add the flour and mix well with the meat, allowing it to cook off for a minute or two. Slowly add 120ml water, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Allow the water to come to the boil and stir until thickened to a coating consistency.
3. Preheat the oven to 200.C/gas 6.
4. Spoon a layer of the mince mixture into a large baking dish, then add the chicken, raisins, black olives, and hard-boiled eggs in layers on top. Finish with a layer of the corn paste, making sure it completely covers the other layers. Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake for 45 minutes until golden.
Time: 90 minutes
For the corn paste:
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1kg frozen sweetcorn
70–100ml whole milk
12 leaves of basil
sea salt and black pepper
For the meat filling:
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1kg beef mince
3 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
. tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp plain flour
500g cooked chicken
handful of sultanas
200g black olives, pitted
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2–3 tbsp golden caster sugar
Good value option
Gabb Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Stellenbosch, South Africa
From Maestic £15
Clos du Marquis’ by Château Léoville-Las Cases, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France 2006
Dinner by Heston£215
- Raul Diaz is an award-winning author of Wines & Recipes, published in November 2020 (£30, www.winetraining.co.uk), Best in the World for Wine Education in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2020. A Chilean-born sommelier who became a WSET-certified wine educator, he now runs his own business, Wine Training School. He has been a TV wine presenter for Sunday Brunch, Channel 4 for several years. He is UK Ambassador for VDP German wines, and in 2018 received the award for Rioja Communicator of the Year.